Citizenship and Legal Work Status
Hiring employees who are not authorized to work in the United States can result in losing your business license and being fined. The first time your business is found to have hired an illegal employee; the fine may be fairly small. However, the second time, the file can be as much as $5,000 per person, and the fines only increase after that. If you make a habit of hiring those who are not eligible to work in the U.S., you may eventually face jail time.
Doing a detailed screening of all potential candidates will help you determine if the person you’re hiring is a U.S. citizen or has the appropriate documentation in order to legally work in the country. USAFact can verify a candidate’s identity and their status, allowing you to hire them without fear of any legal issues later on.
What About Those Using a False Identity?
Unfortunately, those who are in the U.S. illegally may resort to stealing someone else’s identity in order to get a work visa or a job. Doing a background screening may not show anything suspicious. USAFact does everything possible to determine if someone is using an alias or false identity. In fact, more often than not, our screenings do reveal contradictory information that leads to exposing the scam. However, in the event that the identity thief isn’t caught, you’re still covered.
U.S. law states that as long as you have made a good faith attempt to determine that the candidate can legally work in the U.S., you are protected against legal action. In general, employers should refrain from directly asking whether a potential employee is a citizen of the United States before making an offer of employment. Unfortunately, though, the employer is still on the hook if it is determined they are hiring illegal employees. This is a scary scenario for many U.S. companies, especially small businesses. USAFact will exceed the requirements of a good faith search, so you have nothing to worry about. You can be sure that the employees you hire are legally authorized to work in the United States – and you won’t put your business at risk of accruing large fines or other penalties.
How We Do It
We run a number of different screenings to determine someone’s legal work status. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires that employers verify the identity and employment eligibility of all employees hired after November 6, 1986. This verification is done by completing the Employment Eligibility Verification (I-9) Form and by reviewing documents that show the candidate’s identity and employment authorization. The documents that are used to establish both identify and employment authorization includes items such as:
Foreign or U.S. Passports
Permanent resident cards
Alien registration receipt cards
Employment authorization document with a photograph
If none of these documents are available, the individual may establish identity and employment information separately, such as by using a state-issued driver’s license combined with a Social Security card. There are many other documents that may be acceptable, which employers should be familiar with before collecting information required on the I-9.
These documents can be easy for some individuals to obtain illegally or fraudulently, or for them to use another individual’s documentation. A background check can uncover any suspicious information. We can verify the information on their submitted I-9 form, verify eligibility to work in the U.S., check their criminal and financial history, and verify any aliases that may be used.
Some state and federal laws may also require that certain employers use the E-Verify process, depending upon the employee’s citizenship or national origin. This system is an Internet-based system to determine employment eligibility. It’s important to understand that the E-Verify process does not replace Form 1-9 requirements or the need to comply with these requirements. Further, E-Verify may not be used to re-verify employment authorization.
If you’re ready to start verifying the identities of potential hires, contact USAFact today. Our screening services will help you avoid any legal entanglements that come from illegal hires.